Article

The Floor Closer/Manager: Making a Difference

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by George Dans - Also by this author

How would you like to pick up an extra 15 to 25 sales a month without having to spend a ton of money? Caught your eye, didn’t I? Have you ever thought about what exactly happens to your customers who leave without buying? Is it easy or tough to get them to come back? Statistics say that if an average of nine to 10 people leave a week without buying, only a small percentage will come back with follow up, and the follow up has to be effective!

Now, do salespeople really like follow up, or do they tend to see it as punishment? That’s another article for later. For now, let’s talk about how you can sell more cars right now. In your dealership what happens when a customer says that they don’t want to buy today? Who decides whether they can buy or not buy? Who is the last person to talk to the customer before they leave? Is it management or is it your salespeople? If it’s your top salespeople that are selling 15 to 20 plus a month, I’m OK with your answer. I am just not sure we should let the 6 to 8 salespeople or new salespeople decide who can buy or who can’t buy. Set a minimum standard of how many cars a month a salesperson has to sell. Why don’t you set a limit of possibly 10 a month? I understand that some dealerships don’t even have any salespeople selling 10. You’ve got a problem if you don’t have any people selling that many. Why that is, remains a mystery to me. I mean I know what it is; it’s that your team might not be seeing enough or closing enough. Have you ever thought about hiring or developing a person into a floor closer manager? Do you have one now?

I was a floor closer manager for a few years and what a huge difference it made. We went from a hundred a month to well over 200. There were a number of factors that were responsible for this and I thought I would share them with you. First, you have to see the value of this position and person.

A floor closer is completely different than a desk manager. You have to have a person who is in the trenches with the salesperson. Could it be a desk manager? Maybe it could be both, but most likely you will have to refine their job duties. A floor closer manager isn’t someone who just comes out when a deal needs to be closed. Those guys smell like they have commission breath anyway. A floor closer has several responsibilities that can and will affect your bottom line. They are like a lifeline to the salesperson and desk. Along with that, they have several other duties that are very important. Let's review those duties and find out how you can improve your sales for long-term success.

Duties for a floor manager:

  1. Review all working prospects and log sheets with the salespeople. If you aren’t using one of our monthly success planners, then I would think you would have a log sheet. Have the manager sit down with each salesperson and review each prospect on what both of them can do to get that prospect back to the dealership to buy. Sometimes it’s a good thing to have the manager make the call to get the prospect back into buy.
  2. Perform a one-on-one with each salesperson where the manager reviews their tracking sheet or monthly success guide. This meeting is a little different than the one above; the reason is that every salesperson should have a forecast of their activities. By that, I mean there should be a forecast of how many people they will see for the month (demos, write ups, phone calls, mail outs) and what they are expected to sell this month. That has to be managed everyday; not every other day. We aren’t in the every-other-day of selling. Salespeople don’t have bad months; they have several bad days that add up to a bad month. Doesn’t that make sense? You must inspect each daily to ensure success. The days of cramming your month into the last week of the month are crazy. I don’t know of many pro teams that can score all their points in the last minutes of the game. You can minimize this by managing their activities everyday.
  3. Have a “save a deal” meeting everyday, and on top of that, make sure that you have a five-minute phone call in place when a customer leaves without buying. In other words, when a customer leaves without buying, within five minutes have the floor manager call that customer to see how they can get them to come back to buy now!
  4. Have all salespeople turn their customer who is leaving without buying to their floor manager. That manager must have the presence of a hawk, keeping their eye on every single opportunity that walks or calls into your dealership.
  5. Have the floor manager go in after second pencil to close deals. Their job is to flush out the objection and to make sure that if there is a scent of a deal, it’s going down now. Remember that four out of 10 customers buy with in four hours of stopping at their first dealership.
  6. Have your floor manager review numbers and stats, and then assess what the selling team needs help on this month. If they don’t write up enough, they aren’t presenting enough, if they don’t close enough, they might need more closes, if they don’t ask enough, it could be they need help at overcoming objections. If they can’t set appointments, they need help with their phone skills. If they can’t present, have your manager take the salesperson outside and work on their selling skills. Have the salesperson go through the steps to the sale with their floor manager. From there, you adapt, adjust and attack with skills.
  7. Have the floor manager assist or develop a six-week training schedule for your dealership. Have them draft an outline for your dealership, and then do the training at least once or twice a week. I swear, if you do this you can improve your sales right now. If you train, you gain; if you don’t, you LOSE. The reason for the six-week training program is that most people are victimized by stop and start training programs.

Well, there are probably more duties for your floor closer manager, but these seven can serve as a base of duties. There are several methods to paying them, you can pay them off the gross profit, or if you have teams, they are responsible for their own team. If you can’t afford one, then you might really need one. It's tough to grow, because there is a cost to growing. People cost money, and people cost you money. Take a hard look at your dealership and its numbers. Have they grown, or have they shrunk? If they have shrunk, why did they shrink? Don’t wait too long to change. If it were easy, everyone would do it, wouldn’t they? It’s not easy to grow, but the opposite is dying. You are either in growth mode or death mode. You are either thriving or surviving, aren’t you? We can offer a free 30-minute assessment on how to grow your people along with your profits. Have a great selling month!

Vol 2, Issue 4

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